On average, sump pump installation costs $1,082, with most homeowners spending between $675 and $1,619. This data is based on actual project costs as reported by HomeAdvisor members.
Sump pumps work almost every day moving water away from your foundation to keep your house from flooding. They are usually located in your basement in the lowest point in the floor in a hole called the sump hole. Any water that flows into your basement will make its way to this lowest point. Your sump pump hooks up to your wastewater drain. When water enters your basement, the pump pulls it away from your foundation into your wastewater system and keeps your basement from flooding. There are a few major factors that will affect the cost of your sump pump installation.
There are two main types of sump pumps that are most commonly installed in people's homes; submersible and pedestal. Both types work fundamentally the same way. Inside there is a float that rises as the water level rises. Once the water is above a certain level the pump is triggered to turn on, sucking the water in and releasing it out of your home.
A pedestal sump pump consists of a motor that sits atop a pedestal (hence the name) with a hose that goes down into the sump reservoir. The pump draws the water up through the hose and out to where it can be safely drained. The motors are of moderate power and work best where flooding is possible, but usually minor. They engage when a float, not unlike older toilet tank floats, rises with the water in the reservoir and trips the switch.
Because the motor sits on a pedestal above the reservoir, the components are more easily serviced. However, this also means that the pump can get in the way of your moving things around in the basement. There is also no muffling of the noise that the motor will make.
The biggest upside of a pedestal sump pump is the longevity of the motor. Because it isn’t submerged, the motor will last longer. Properly installed and maintained (which involves routine cleaning), a pedestal model can last 25 to 30 years.
The cost of a pedestal sump pump ranges from $58.00 for a basic 1/3 horsepower pump to about $170.00 for a ½ horsepower pump.
Submersible pumps sit down inside the reservoir. They are submerged during operation and are sealed against the water. The motors are generally stronger than the pedestal-type, making them suitable for areas of greater flooding. The motor and the pump are combined into one unit.
Because they sit down in the reservoir, submersible sump pumps are quieter. The water muffles the sound of the motor. They are also out of the way when it comes to moving things around in the basement. However, being under water takes its toll. They generally only last 5 to 15 years, but they are not as prone to clogging as a pedestal pump.
The cost of a submersible pump ranges from $100.00 to $400.00. They can be as strong as ¾ horsepower and the more expensive ones tend to come with battery backup systems.
Besides the cost of the pump itself, there are other factors that will influence the cost of having a sump pump installed:
Type of Pump: You’ve already seen how the price changes from a pedestal pump to a submersible pump. There is still another choice to make, though, and that’s plastic or metal. A plastic pump provides better chemical resistance against corrosive fluids and can move abrasive liquids like water with heavy silt. However, they can’t handle high pressures very well and so will likely be of lower horsepower. Metal pumps can handle higher pressures and will likely be stronger, but parts can be prone to corrosion and the units can cost twice as much as their plastic counterparts.
Type of Floor: Sump pumps are usually installed in basements where there is typically a cement floor. Some may have dirt or gravel floors, but today most are cement. Dirt or gravel floors can be relatively easy to dig the reservoir. A cement floor must be hammered through, and the thicker the floor the more labor involved. Because of this, cement or concrete floors can cost from $2,500.00 to $5,000.00 for your installation.
Location: Where the pump is to be located will also influence the cost. The pump should be located at the lowest point in your basement. Pedestal pumps are situated at the opening of the drainage, but submersible pumps must be put down into the reservoir. If your home’s plumbing is dense and complex in that area, extra care will have to be taken which will increase the cost.
Geographic Locations: Things cost differently in different parts of the country. You may get charged $2,700.00 in one city while your friend in another city pays about $3,000.00 for the exact same job. Some rural areas might see charges of significantly less. This is usually due to the varying cost of labor in these parts. Permit fees also vary from place to place.
Pro or DIY: Although there is a lot of labor involved, pumps can be installed DIY. This will save you a lot of money up front. All you’ll have to pay for is the materials and any needed permits. However, the extra you’ll pay for having a professional install it can be worth the peace of mind of knowing that the job was done correctly and, if it wasn’t, that you’ll have means of recourse.
Mechanically speaking, a pump is a simple machine. This means that the basic elements that can go wrong are few. If you’re wondering if you should replace your sump pump, here are three things to look for.
Is it noisy? Noises coming from your pump can indicate worn or damaged parts. Pumps that have sucked up hard debris can have their impellers bent or damaged. An impeller is like a propeller except that it draws things in instead of propelling something along. Impellers are balanced to minimize wear on the shaft that they spin on. One that is bent or damaged will cause the whole thing to wobble and create stress on the shaft. This will create noise and lead to further damage. Re-bending an impeller is nearly impossible to do right, so your best bet is to replace the unit.
Is it getting power? If the pump is getting electrical power to the unit but is still not working, there could be an electrical problem inside. Electricity is dangerous enough to work around; electricity and water combined are even more dangerous. Don’t try to work on it while it’s plugged in and in the reservoir. It’s best to replace the pump, because one electrical problem usually means there are others getting ready to show up.
Has it stopped working entirely? If the unit isn’t getting any power, the two obvious things to check are the plug (to make sure it’s plugged in, a common mistake) and the breaker box (to make sure the breaker hasn’t tripped). If all is well, check the float switch with an electrical tester (the most basic of these will simply light up if there’s current between the two points). If the float switch is getting power, then your motor is burned out and you must replace the pump.
The good news to all of this is that replacing your pump isn’t as expensive as installing a brand new system. The hard part, digging the reservoir and installing the drainage, has already been done. All you need is a new pump.
If you are replacing an existing sump pump, the choice is obvious: get another one of the same type and/or horsepower. However, you might find that you need to get a different unit. Calculating exactly what size pump you need is a pretty involved matter involving pipe diameters, elbows, reservoir dimensions, etc. Professionals with a good amount of experience can usually make a good estimate of what you need based on their experience.
So why not just put the most powerful pump in that you can afford? Because it’s kind of a “Goldilocks” situation. If your pump is too small, then it won’t be able to pump the water out fast enough and your basement will flood. If your pump is too big, it will be constantly cycling and will burn out faster. You want a pump that is “just right”.
Considerations for the pump include not only the volume of water that it will be moving, but also the drain pipes and layout. If the pump has to move water up tall, vertical pipes, it will need more power to do so. Also, if there are a lot of turns and elbows in the layout, more power will be needed. Finally, if the length of the drain is fairly long, more power will be needed. This is one of the reasons that many people leave the installation of a new pump up to the professionals!
Once you have your sump pump installed, you may think that you’re now safe from the damages that can come from a flooded basement. There are a few other things that you may want to think about, instead.
Insurance – An insurance rider for sump pump failure often must be bought separately. Don’t assume that it’s in your policy; you usually have to ask for it. Many insurance companies don’t even offer it. You may have to buy it on its own from the National Flood Insurance Program. The cost for this rider is about $100.00 per year. Given the damage that can be caused by a flooded basement (molds and structural damage as well as loss of personal property), $8.33 a month is worth it.
Preparation – Sump pumps do the most work during spring and summer when “April showers” and summer storms can send torrents of rain down. During the winter, a pump can sometimes become detrimental. Some pumps have an extension hose to drain water away from the pit. When the weather drops to below freezing, this hose can ice up and become clogged. As the pump tries to send water through the hose, it gets blocked and will result in a flooded basement. Some people prepare their pumps for freezing temperatures either by unplugging the pump or by disconnecting the extension hose and letting the pump drain directly.
Accessories – There are accessories that you may want to consider:
Battery Back-up – A storm big enough to bring flooding conditions to your house can also knock out the power. A marine battery is used to let the pump work independently of your house’s power in an emergency. Car batteries are not suitable because they’re designed to give your car the kick it needs to get started and then to run a few things like headlights, signal lights, and radios. A marine battery is designed to keep putting out power like a household battery.
Sump Pump Alarm – Alarms are the way to find out if your pump is being overpowered by the water. When the water hits a certain level, the alarm will sound to let you know that the pump isn’t able to keep up with the flow. Since it can be placed at varying levels, you can buy yourself some time to use the next accessory…
Reserve Pumps – If you live where flooding is quite heavy you might consider having multiple pumps. If your main pump is overpowered, you can turn on the reserve pumps to add a little muscle to your system.
Filters – The life of a pump can be severely shortened if it’s constantly sucking up sediment and other material. A filter can be used to help keep such things out of your pump and extend its life. They do have to be cleaned and/or replaced periodically, but this is much cheaper than having to prematurely replace your pump.
A sump pump is your home’s first line of defense against floods. Though the initial installation can be a little pricey and involved, the amount of protection it can provide to your home and your personal property makes the cost well worth it. Having a sump pump is one time where being left “high and dry” is a good thing!